News Hartwick College Receives $500K To Enhance Inclusive STEM Opportunities For Students

November 30, 2022

A $500,000 grant from The Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s (HHMI) will allow Hartwick College to increase its capacity for providing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) opportunities that promote success for all students, particularly those belonging to historically excluded groups.

HHMI’s Inclusive Excellence 3 initiative is providing the funds, which are designed to affect a campus culture change, and foster equity in students’ STEM experiences and outcomes.

“At Hartwick College, inclusion and excellence are core values that help ensure we transform the lives of all of our students and give them high-quality academic, social and professional tools to make a positive impact on our diverse, multi-cultural and global society,” said Hartwick College President Darren Reisberg. “I am so grateful to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute for incentivizing the prioritization of inclusive teaching and learning practices across the STEM disciplines — and am so proud of our tremendous Hartwick College STEM faculty for taking full advantage of this opportunity to live out Hartwick’s mission by working to further instill a culture of inclusion and belonging, not just in the STEM fields, but across our entire campus.”

Colleges and universities selected for the grant are divided into seven Learning Community Clusters (LCCs), with approximately 15 institutions belonging to each LCC. Hartwick belongs to LCC3, and created its plan collaboratively. LCC3 aims to shift institutions from deficit- to achievement-oriented thinking and practices through five overlapping areas of activity: continuing education, inclusive curricula, student empowerment, inclusive collaboration, and broader approaches to institutional transformation.

The Hartwick Inclusive Excellence 3 team is composed of faculty from the biology, chemistry, math, and physics departments, and representatives of the offices of College Advancement and Academic Affairs. With the funding, the College will focus on strengthening student belonging by amplifying student voices, and building support for instructors to shift to practices and policies that create equitable learning environments for all students. Initiatives to be forwarded or developed under the grant include:

  • Empowering student-led STEM clubs to promote inclusivity
  • Creating a student advisory panel to provide input and feedback, and to collaborate on the creation of class and laboratory activities and assignments.
  • Building a program to develop STEM Peer Mentors to students enrolled in introductory STEM courses.
  • Professional development for faculty to modify introductory science curricula, evaluation procedures, and/or modes of instruction across multiple STEM courses.
  • Development of new courses on inclusivity in science

Collectively, this work will inform the College’s planning to create the infrastructure necessary to provide continuous support and assessment of inclusive pedagogies and student engagement.

“We are so pleased to be part of this innovative opportunity with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion,” said Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty Dr. Laurel Bongiorno. “This is such important work in the higher education community and right here at Hartwick College. We are ready to learn and collaborate.”

Since 1988, HHMI has promoted leadership in science education through its institutional grants program which, through peer-reviewed competitions, awards grants to four-year colleges and universities. The competitions enable HHMI to highlight important national issues in science education, support science faculty in addressing these problems, and encourage institutions to become leaders in science education excellence. Because these grants are made at an institutional level and not to individuals, the success of the grant-supported programs requires science faculty and administrators at colleges and universities to work together to develop activities that will advance science education. The creation of LCCs for the Inclusive Excellence 3 program broadened collaboration to multiple institutions. The LCC3 will use $600,000 from HHMI to build inclusive collaboration among institutional teams, which will provide the Hartwick Inclusive Excellence 3 team critical support for their work.

For more information on the HHMI/grant, contact Professor of Biology Mary Allen at (607) 431-4743 or